|Church members cleaned up the grounds at the Boys & Girls Club of Menifee Valley today. Nearly 700 volunteers provided service at several sites around town.|
Kristin Van Noty stopped pulling weeds long enough to answer the question:
Why are you at the Boys & Girls Club of Menifee, doing yard work on a Sunday morning, instead of your regular Sunday services at Generations Church?
"Well, we don't think the church is just a building," she said, surrounded by about 80 other members of Menifee church congregations scattered around the club grounds. "Today, this is our church. We want to be the light in the world, and we can't do that just with words. You have to put action with it."
Generations Church and six other churches closed their doors today, encouraging members to move their church service outside. Nearly 700 church members donned green shirts with the slogan "Service Sunday" and volunteered service time at several sites across town.
The project was the culmination of a months-long discussion among the pastors of several area churches who have been meeting regularly in prayer and to discuss ways of community service. The decision to perform the service on a Sunday instead of attending traditional church services was a conscious one.
"Church is not just a building you attend, it's something you're a part of," said Ryan Sharp, pastor of Generations Church and a board member of the Boys & Girls Club of Menifee Valley.
Sharp said the City of Menifee has been very supportive of the project, which the pastors hope to make an annual event. City officials donated items to be used in the clean-up and helped coordinate the selection of sites.
One of those attending Sunday's event was Mayor Scott Mann, a member of New Hope Church.
"Instead of being at our churches, we're out here in the community, providing service," Mann said. "While we're out here working, we share our Jesus story when we're asked."
Mann said he and his wife were working at Lyle Marsh Park earlier today when a man driving by slowed to ask them why they were doing this and how he could participate in the next event.
Bill Zimmerman, board member of the Boys & Girls Club, said he was pleasantly surprised by the number of volunteers who showed up to work at the facility.
"I was expecting something around 30 people," he said. "Then 30 showed up, then another 30, then another 20 ... they just kept coming. It has been a great turnout."
Here's a list of the participating churches, with the pastors who represented them on Sunday:
Generations Church: Pastor Ryan Sharp
New Hope Church: Pastors Paul Krueger and Chris Suitt
Elevation Church: Pastor Kasey Crawford
Calvary Hills Church: Pastor Jeff Johnson
Beit Tefilah Messianic Synagogue: Rabbi Jim Woodcock
Eagle Ridge Church: Pastor Steve Lennertz
Menifee Valley Community Church: Pastor Robin Altice
|Pastors of seven local churches joined Mayor Scott Mann (center, front row) in the "Service Sunday" event.|